Tim League's call for greater flexibility in the film distribution landscape - which is broadening rapidly and without any sign of slowing down - is one that should be echoed by filmmakers who want a shot at both theatrical distribution and the revenue potential of VOD.
What I would love to see in the wake of It Follows' success is increased flexibility by allthe major players involved: VOD platforms, cinemas and iTunes alike. Strong indie films with a chance of breaking out would begin with a 2-4 week theatrical window. If they do extremely well, the VOD and iTunes windows would be pushed back to allow the theatrical revenues to be maximized and for awareness of the film to build. At the same time, expansion market cinemas would be willing to pick up the film, provided it crossed certain revenue thresholds in its first two weeks of release. If the theatrical grosses aren't there, the film would stick to the compressed-window strategy or maybe play in those expansion markets with just a few showtimes.
To date, the cinema industry is largely unwilling to discuss any flexibility in the way independent films are booked. I am in accord with the industry that new-release blockbusters need to have a long exclusive theatrical window. But for independent films, we need greater flexibility.
Read the rest of League's persuasive piece at badassdigest.com.